Fresh evidence is emerging of the spendthrift lifestyle of the directors of the once-mighty Caja Madrid savings bank even as the 300-year-old institution drifted into crisis.
The 83 directors were each issued with a “black” credit card, with the collective bill reaching €15m (£12m) over a 10-year period. The money was spent on holidays and shopping trips, with €3m spent in restaurants.
In the 12 months before its 2012 bailout, Caja Madrid paid out more than €1m in daily allowances and its directors received 1,200 gifts, while chief executive, Miguel Blesa, spent €10,000 on wine out of the total of €436,700 he ran up on the credit card. This was on top of his €3.5m salary. Former finance director Ildefonso Sánchez Barcoj topped the spending list, with €484,200 on his card.
All of the directors were political appointees, installed by their respective parties and trade unions. José Antonio Moral Santín, of the leftwing Izquierda Unida party, used his card to take out €365,000 in cash. Twenty-two directors continued to use their cards after they had ceased to have any role at the bank.
In 2010, Caja Madrid merged with a series of smaller savings banks to become Bankia. On 9 May 2012, the bank reported a profit of €328m, a figure that was adjusted two weeks later to a loss of €4.3bn. One year on this was revised to €19bn, the largest corporate loss in Spanish history.
Bankia was bailed out in 2012 by the Spanish government, which took a 45% stake in it. Earlier this year the government sold 7.5% for €1.3bn.
Blesa and the former Bankia chief executive and economy minister Rodrigo Rato have been summoned to appear before a judge to answer questions about the credit card scandal. Four executive directors have between them repaid a total of €200,000.
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